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Honda Hybrid Mileage Suit Settles: State AGs Protest

A Honda class action lawsuit settlement over some of Honda hybrid models has drawn protests from department of AG (attorney general) in multiple states.

According to U.S. News and World Reports, the lawsuit commenced in 2007 by plaintiffs John True and Gonzalo Delgado who claimed that their Civic Hybrids did not live up to advertised EPA-estimated fuel efficiency. The New York Times reports that the plaintiffs claimed that they only got 31 miles per gallon versus Honda's advertised 49/51 miles per gallon.

While the hybrid mileage lawsuit has been settled by Honda, the car maker refuses to admit that it did anything wrong in its advertisement of its Civic Hybrids' fuel efficiency. Honda claims that it relied on numbers provided by the EPA and followed all federal regulations.

So what did the 120,000 members of the plaintiff group get from the hybrid mileage settlement? The main plaintiffs will receive $12,500 and $10,000 each. The rest will be offered a voucher for $1,000 off a new Honda. The voucher does not cover fuel efficient models such as the Insight, Civic Hybrid, Fit, or any used Honda (or Acura).

Another offer is a $500 discount to Civic Hybrid owners who do not want to sell their current car. This discount can be transferred to immediate family members.

And the final offer? If owners do not want to buy a new car, and they can prove that they complained about the mileage, they will get $100 from Honda.

State Attorneys General from states such as Texas, California, Tennessee, Texas, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia all claim that this settlement is not enough. According to Detroit News, they all claim that while owners get a small settlement, the attorneys of the class action lawsuit will receive $2.95 million dollars in legal fees.

Meanwhile there are issues about the restrictions placed on the vouchers. The New York Times quotes Clarence Ditlow, the executive director of the Center for Auto Safety as saying, "The purchaser of a Honda Civic Hybrid is a person who is interested in fuel economy. So, the settlement allows them to buy any vehicle but a fuel-efficient vehicle. In other words, you get a coupon for the purchase of a vehicle that you don't want."

The AGs also complain that not enough of models are covered by the Honda hybrid mileage settlement.

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